By Brad Donaldson
Gordon Young knew something was missing.
“There’s all kinds of trails in Nova Scotia that [you can] drive out, park your car, hike in, have lunch, and hike out again,” says Young. “But if you say, ‘Hey, I want to go for a five day hike’ where do you go?”
For years, Young had left his home province in search of these long-distance hikes, destinations including places such as Quebec, Maine, and even overseas to England.
The idea to create such a trail in Nova Scotia came to Young, a native of Pictou County, while driving his daughter along the province’s back roads to Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick.
When reflecting back on these drives, he notes the inspiration came from overlooking that “spine” over northern Nova Scotia, which includes the Cobequid Mountains and the escarpment running into Antigonish.
In 2003, Young became one of the founding members of the Cape to Cape Trail Association, a small committee stemming from the Pictou County Trails Association.
Since then, he has been a driving force in the initiation and construction of Nova Scotia’s first long-distance footpath.
But what a trail of long-distance needs for its users are shelters.
On Saturday, June 25, Gordon Young, along with many other dedicated community members, will unveil the trail’s first overnight shelter—the Doris and Jack McLachlan Bothy, which has been built along the Six Mile Brook Trail, not far from Young’s home.
A bothy is a term used to describe shelters found in the Scottish Highlands for anyone to use, free of charge.
Young hopes the Doris and Jack McLachlan Bothy will offer people from Nova Scotia and beyond another reason to explore this area of the province, and do so in a new and refreshing way.
So, with the grand opening right around the corner, what is Gordon Young looking forward to the most on Saturday? Everyone who will be there.
“It means a lot to everybody. Anybody you talk to gets excited about the idea of it.”
An estimated 25 students, led by North Nova Education Centre teacher Andrew Parsons—a close friend of Young—and another 35 volunteers are credited with the building of the timber-framed shelter.
The bothy may be just a checkpoint along the developing Cape to Cape Trail, but a proud and deserved checkpoint it is.
For directions and further details surrounding Saturday’s event, click here.